I was born and raised in Chicago, IL, and although I attended one the best high schools in Chicago, having Michelle Robinson (now Michelle Obama) and the children of Jesse Jackson as classmates, I was not ready for college. Therefore, I followed the path of my two older cousins by joining the Marine Corps. My short term plan was to just do four years then return home and pursue my college degree. However, twenty seven years later, I ended up retiring having had a stellar career and a life time of great experiences.
Having already had strong morals and values instilled in me by my parents and catholic school, joining the Marines didn't change that. In fact, the Marine Corps enhanced the values of my upbringing. The bedrock of these values was "Honor, Courage and Commitment". Understanding the value of "Honor" empowered me to exemplify a strong ethical and moral behavior, to act responsibly by having an uncompromising code of integrity. The Marines instilled in me the "Courage" to have the mental and physical strength to endure the challenges of combat, overcome fear, lead by example and make tough decisions under pressure while maintaining a higher standard of conduct. Finally, having the dedication of "Commitment" to country, Corps, and self. Commitment taught me to have pride in everything I do, concern for others and the determination to achieve a standard of excellence in every endeavor.
These values impacted every choice and decision I made throughout my career. As a result, I was "Honored" to serve as a Marine Security Guard at the American Embassy's in Sana'a, Yemen and Bern, Switzerland, with my most exotic tour of duty having been in Pyongyang, North Korea. I had the "Courage" to change jobs and become and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician and endure four combat tours. My "Commitment" to seek self-improvement led me to finishing my college degree, completing 63 semester hours in 6 months; transitioning from enlisted to the Officer Corps where my most satisfying achievement was leading Marines in combat.
In other words, the military changed the trajectory of my life. As a result, I was able to acquire a few jobs as a contractor by reputation alone. However, my goal was to attain a more satisfying role with the federal government. Family and friends thought I was crazy to leave my GS-14 equivalent job for what they interpreted as a measly GS-9. Even my current boss personally called me to ask if I was sure I wanted this job! But I have never been guided by what others thought my path should be. The Marine Corps taught me to have "Honor" in my work, follow the "Courage" of my convictions by traveling the path "I" see for myself, and to have the "Commitment" to see it through for my own peace of mind.
I enjoy the work I do here at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) as I have a great boss, Jozetta Robinson, who shares the same corps values as she too is a Marine. There is great value in the work OPM does for federal employees and I look forward to getting up every morning to go to work here. I find my job to be fulfilling and rewarding as I enjoy being able employ my unique problem solving skills and business writing talents in OPM's Office of the Executive Secretariat (OES).
As a Technical Writer and Editor on the OES correspondence management team, I represent OPM on the Council of Federal Executive Secretariats, guide and track incoming White House and Congressional correspondence for resolution, processes all memorandums, and official requests sent to the Office of the Director by Federal agencies, oversees the routing and clearance of correspondence that must be reviewed, approved, or signed by the Director's Office and handles all approval, archiving, and routing tasks in OPM's Document Management System for senior OD staff.
Yes, it's a long way from neutralizing IED's on the streets of Fallujah. But I am happy to be here!